Oh! Brother!

phil, pat, peter, mary (33)

“ There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother.”– Astrid Alauda

I LOVE my brothers. I do. Truly. They are among my best friends. I am the only girl among four boys, and I am second in line. We lost the brother just younger than me when I was only three. It’s my earliest memory as a child, and it certainly impacts our sibling dynamic. We may not have all had a chance to meet him, but we all know him, each in our own way. On top of delighting in my brothers, simply because they are my brothers, I treasure my relationship with each one – even the one who is no longer here with us…or should I say – especially the one who is no longer with us.

I have been spending a lot of my thought life dwelling on my love for my brothers lately. Dwelling on my love for them brought me to thinking about the fact that, now that we have a second child, my kids have siblings too! When I was pregnant with my second I spent a lot of time dreaming about what life would be like with two. After we found out we were having a boy, I spent a lot of time wondering if I really knew what to do with a boy??!! I mean, I have 4 brothers…I should know SOMETHING for crying out loud…(gulp!).

One thing I never really gave much thought to, or really had the ability to imagine, was the unique sibling relationships that my children would begin as my son joined our family. Let me tell you, it has got to be one of my very favorite parts of motherhood! There was certainly an adjustment period, and my kids squabble just as much as anyone else’s, but they LOVE each other. They are four and not-yet two, and they love deeply, forgive easily, and they are way more excited to see each other in the morning than they are to see me. In the beginning when our son was slightly less ‘interesting’ because he couldn’t fulfill the requests of the then-three-year-old, I started to wonder if the three year old was digging the sibling thing and if she would ever be excited to have another down the road. Then we hit the, “he ruins everything stage” and I was sure she would never actually request that another sibling be added to our number.

However, to my surprise (and great delight!), within the last six months my daughter has been begging for our family to have another baby. After I gave it some more thought, I realized that it actually seems to make a lot of sense. Brother joined the family – love increased. She recognizes the love and gift of another person, and she wants more! As I was laying with her in bed a few nights ago, she rolled over and sighed with exasperation. She said to me, “I keep imagining a new baby. I keep talking about it, I keep asking for it, and I keep viewing other babies but NO ONE is bringing me a baby for me!” I just grinned from ear to ear. I wanted another baby for her! I assured her that we (God willing!) definitely planned to add more babies to our family some day, and that seemed to satisfy her for that night. We will see what the coming days bring.

After that conversation with my daughter, and while reflecting on Easter – which we had just celebrated -it occurred to me that as Christians we often refer to Jesus as our brother. Which got me to thinking…

I truly have never really related to Jesus as my brother before. And when I let such a thought form in my mind, I was awe struck and filled with great affection. I almost couldn’t even handle the thought of Jesus being my brother and then replaying in my mind all that happens in His passion and death. The only reason I could let myself think it through was because I already knew the outcome and victory.

I don’t really have anything to conclude with all of this as it is still so fresh in my mind, but I am certainly grateful for the relationships that I have with my brothers…which were gifted to me by my Brother in the greatest sacrifice and triumph that has ever been. And I am humbled. Beyond words.

In recent years I have had a strong desire for my heart to be moved during important celebrations in the Church, such as Easter, Christmas…and leading up to them, Lent and Advent. I have wanted to experience these times and to have come away from them being changed. And ever since I have desired this and sought after it, it has happened (even if only in very small, almost easy-to-miss ways). Funny enough, sometimes the changes come after the preparation and initial celebrations of have ended and things have quieted down. Thus, I found myself at the end of the first week of Easter 2015 – thinking on the crucifixion of Jesus, my brother….and ready to learn more about what it means to relate to my Lord as my brother – whose love, I know, is like no other.

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